Los Angeles-based public radio station KCRW 89.9 FM (also KCRW.com), in partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association present “Journey to India” as part of its eclectic, world music concert series with the return of the “Maestro of Madras,” multiple Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman, along with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the iconic hillside Hollywood Bowl.
Rahman is one of India’s most prolific and commercially successful artists. The singer, songwriter, composer, and recipient of numerous international awards and accolades has redefined the Indian film music industry by not only producing a repertoire of unforgettable music scores that often defy traditional rules, but also appeal to massive audiences regardless of the ancillary movie flops. Rahman’s last 2006 performance at the Bowl was an immense success and he will return to thrill audiences once again with some of his most cherished movie scores.
Arvind Manocha, chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, credits “a strong market for diverse world music” in prompting KCRW and the Philharmonic to partner for the last 11 years and create a concert series that highlights global artists.
For 2011, Manocha, KCRW, and the association have crafted a memorable evening: a full orchestra of 100 Philharmonic performers guided by the U.K.’s leading conductor, Matt Dunkley, in showcasing Rahman’s compositions. Manocha says, “This will be Rahman’s first performance with the Philharmonic and the Philharmonic’s first performance with the World Festival.”
The opening half of the concert will feature a heart- and foot-thumping mix of traditional and cutting-edge Indian music speckled with Bollywood dancers and Indian American pop music acts.
Rahman rouses and performs during the second half with the Philharmonic not only unveiling a unique way to enhance the symphonic music experience, but also by bringing true meaning to “Bollywood” by featuring popular film scores from Indian films such as Slumdog Millionaire and his Hollywood compositions from movies such as 127 Hours and Couple’s Retreat. True to Rahman’s own love of all things tech, the audience will encounter a rich visual experience with movie clips blasted on various screens from all angles of the 18,000 seating amphitheater.
His 2006 “Jai Ho” tour was a near sell-out across the board, and approximately half of the audience members were non-Indian.
Such a mixed draw excites Manocha. “It is a great opportunity to present South Asian artists as it brings a sense of community and a moment at the Bowl to celebrate culture and music, it is our heritage,” he says.
The World Festival celebrates its 13th season beginning June 26 with a gathering of famed Japanese pop artists such as Yellow Magic Orchestra, Cibo Matto, traditional taiko drummers, and kabuki dancers. On July 24, Ricky Minor, Stevie Wonder and friends celebrate soul music from around the world while Ziggy Marley salutes top reggae legends July 31. On August 28, Jean Claude Vannier, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and special guests such as Beck pay tribute to French music superstar Serge Gainsbourg.
Sunday, July 10, 7 p.m. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 North Highland Ave., Hollywood. $12-$104. Parking: $8. Ticketmaster: (800) 745-3000. Info: (323) 850-2000. www.kcrw.com/events/world-music-festival-2011. www.hollywoodbowl.com.